Cuban defector Yasiel Balaguer to hold workout for Marlins

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Yasiel Balaguer, who defected from Cuba in November in order to become a free agent and eventually sign with an MLB team, will hold his first workout today for the Marlins, according to Michael Miller of the Miami New Times.

Balaguer’s representatives have been touting the 18-year-old outfielder as an elite prospect and various media outlets have eaten that up, but Baseball America editor-in-chief John Manuel spoke to scouts who described him as having “average tools across the board with one important below-average tool, his bat.”

Jose Iglesias received $8.25 million from the Red Sox and Noel Arguelles received $7 million from the Royals after defecting from Cuba last year, but it sounds like Balaguer is unlikely to approach those marks.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.